Zoom, Google Classroom, remote online learning. A new way of learning took the world by storm in 2020. Not that these weren’t possible before, but in 2020 they became every day life. This style of learning certainly didn’t suit everyone during the pandemic. And for those Year 12 students who learnt best in-person and surrounded by peers, this was a particularly difficult year to be studying for the VCE, the score which would heavily influence which university you’d be accepted into.
Losing all the activities high schoolers look forward to - sport carnival, formal, concerts, made for a really difficult last year of high school. It not only affected the academic progress of so many students it affected their mental health as well.
Sabriah is a fighter, a survivor and this year learnt what it means to be a friend to someone struggling with their mental health.
We met at a very special place for her interview and photoshoot - at the hockey pitch. It’s the place where she literally grew up. Though she’s been playing field hockey since she was five, she’s only moved to Australia from New Zealand and now calls Melbourne home. Prior to Covid canceling the season, she spent long evenings and weekends playing here with the Kew Brumbies Hockey Club. I had never shot on a field hockey pitch so this was so fun to have the entire place to ourselves, Sabriah recreated shots on goal for me.
Volunteering with St. John’s Ambulance has been an important part of her teen years. It’s something she and her mum volunteer together, serving the greater community and providing her important people skills and first aid knowledge. This park where we met also happened to house her local St. John’s chapter.
She also brought her formal attire, a dress she never got to wear for her last school formal. We went around the park surrounding the hockey pitch for some more elegant images around the gum trees, but ended the evening for the interview back on the pitch. Some of our favourite shots from this evening came just at the very end of Sabriah in her formal dress on the field.
During our time together and during the interview, Sabriah opened up to me about how difficult Year 12 was for here. There were times when she really didn’t think she would make it. Then her younger brother came through for her. He was a source of strength during those tough weeks, going on runs with her and providing emotional support.
But perhaps one of the biggest takeaways for from 2020 was the ability to walk alongside someone struggling with their mental health, yet continue to be a friend. Listen to her interview below.